Boeheim Brothers, Cole Swider lead Syracuse past Cornell, 80-68
Syracuse men's basketball lifted itself past Cornell on Wednesday thanks to three key players. WAER’s Carson Gambaro highlights their contributions.
After four years in a red and white uniform, Jimmy Boeheim knew he would be playing against a familiar opponent in Cornell (8-3, 0-0 Ivy League).
Jimmy’s reunion with the Big Red was both highly anticipated and hotly contested. For the tenth time this season, the grad transfer opened Syracuse’s (7-5, 1-0 ACC) scoring output. Boeheim reintroduced himself to his former team with a quick drive to the hoop just ten seconds in.
The rest of the first half consisted of extensive runs by both squads. While Cornell was on a surge late in the period, their former forward injured his left shoulder going for a rebound. Jimmy sat out the final two minutes, leaving many wondering if he would return.
Jimmy's grimacing and holding his left shoulder. I'm sad.— WAER Sports Talk (@WAERSportsTalk) December 30, 2021
He came right back out to start the second frame. Despite the earlier scare, Jimmy Boeheim finished with a solid 16 points, the third highest mark on the team. Jimmy also collected seven rebounds, second only to Jesse Edwards.
For Boeheim, this game certainly meant something.
“I’ve got a lot of love for that program and everyone on that sideline,” Jimmy said of his former school. “They helped me become the player I am now.”
Boeheim’s younger brother, Buddy, was impressive as well. The senior led all scorers with 22, good for his sixth 20+ point outing in 12 games this year.
Buddy had entered this week on a rather down slate. The younger Boeheim entered Monday night’s matchup with Brown having coughed up just 27 points in his previous three games. This week alone, he’s nearly doubled that with 50 combined against the two Ivy League opponents.
“Buddy is making some of the hardest shots I’ve ever seen,” said Head Coach Jim Boeheim of his youngest son.
Buddy might have earned Pepsi Player of the Game honors for his 28-point clinic against the Bears, but against the Big Red, that title went to Cole Swider. From shooting 8/12 for 21 points to grabbing five boards, and committing just one personal foul, the Villanova transfer issued a complete performance against Cornell.
Like Buddy, Swider has had a smooth stretch of his own. Over his past two games, the wing has pinpointed 75% of his threes compared to 29% on the season prior to this week.
“As a shooter, you’ve got to stay confident,” Swider said postgame. “Ray Allen went through shooting slumps, Steph Curry goes through bad games of shooting…as a shooter you’ve just got to keep shooting.”
In total, the Boeheim brothers and Swider pitched in 59 of SU’s 80 points. To put that into perspective, the rest of the Orange would have only needed to score ten to defeat Cornell.
Furthermore, the trio sank 62.5% of their field goals in the 12-point win. Low and behold, these three were the Orange’s offensive lifeblood.
With that in mind, this was not a squeaky-clean victory for Syracuse. The success of the double Boeheim-Swider trifecta overshadowed a dim five-point showing from Joseph Girard III. JGIII finished the game with as many turnovers as he did points.
Edwards also fouled out for the fifth time in 2021.
Aside from those rough patches, Coach Boeheim’s crew got the job done on short notice. Recall, neither Brown nor Cornell were initially on schedule this week. Once Syracuse’s previously planned matchup with Georgia Tech was postponed Sunday, both squads had limited time to prepare for one another.
“It was very important to get games this week,” said the Hall of Fame coach. “We needed the Brown game; the only time we were going to get the Cornell game was Wednesday because they had a cancellation.”
Ultimately, SU shrugged off the quick turnaround and emerged with a two game win streak over its Ivy League opponents.
The Orange look to further their momentum heading into conference play. Pending any additional COVID pauses, Syracuse’s second ACC contest of the season is set for Saturday night.
We’ll have full coverage of SU vs. Virginia on 88.3 FM and right here on waer.org on New Year’s Day. Catch GZA Countdown to Tipoff at 5:30 p.m. before the Orange and Cavaliers square off at 6:00.